The film shot over span of two years and odd is as naked in its form of exposing these metal rock legends. With things going berserk around them, producer Bob Rock plays bass which makes him to participate in the sessions too. Lars is more welcoming to the sessions while Hetfield is clearly disinterested in it. It does take a lot of courage to show them emotionally exposed when their music and attitude to the public amplifies macho level to high decibels. Here we see them of course getting angry due to lot of buried or resurfacing past. In almost twenty years, Lars and Hetfield being best buddies have lost time and the patience to sit and talk openly about their issues.
As the tension level rises up, you see this lean lead guitarist rarely voicing up to tell his feeling. The lead guitarist is Kirk Hammett who as in his character never loses or is in the business of conflicts. He tells he consistently tries to be the egoless person and the time he comes about in the soap operatic moments between James and Lars is next to nothing which makes him the official pacifier and go to guy for this band. When I say soap operatic moments, it is reality TV. But then there is honesty unlike the manipulated TV shows. It does interview Jason Newsted and in fact goes back to Dave Mustaine who was in the band in 80s for couple of years (which I did not know). Jason Newsted quit while Mustaine got kicked out because he got drinking problem. If a band that popularly was called “Alchoholica” kicks out some one because he had drinking problem, it blows your mind.
Editing for the film would have been a challenging task as it spanned for two years with shooting almost the entire two year. Does the band go through an emotional catharsis? It appears they personally do, even though the film only shows couple of those changed scenarios. I believe the reason they made this film is personal too and some might have been edited out which is understandable. The point of learning that they have undergone a major character change in their faces and to see Hetfield’s smiling face before he stages upon to stand in front of thousands of people is solid enough evidence for that. The film is very personal in those manner and for them to distribute is something strange. Yet understandable.
In “Cast Away” when the character of Chuck Noland leaves the island he spent with no human contact for nearly four years, he sees it with somber tragic eyes and cries insane when he loses his only buddy, Wilson a volley ball in seas. That is the attachment you create with a place or a living non living thing even when the greatest trouble happens out there or with them. And when Phil Towle their guidance guy goes through that it reminds every one is vulnerable, expendable and ultimately can disappear into the vortex of these human dynamics and attachments.
The movie is made when the album “St. Anger” was being recorded. I am not particularly a big fan of the whole album apart from selected songs. The band thrashed each of its ego, animosity, hate and rage into the album which is uncovered in this film. When you learn about the basis of the genesis of why they play what they play and why it sounds and means a lot to them and many others, you learn to respect and may be even love their style of music. The same kind of understanding goes through between the main trouble getters among themselves, Ulrich and Hetfield. For nearly two decades even the honest opinions of each have been scrambled as personal attacks and for once after two years, they are ready to listen to one another. It might look like how spoiled they are to not hold it together and in fact their former bassist Newsted resonates that, but there is nothing wrong in accepting being helpless and more than that show it to the world of the progress they made.